HM Insights

As an competitor and an athletics fan, Usain Bolt and Eilidh Child are fantastic role models

Samantha ‘Sammi’ Kinghorn is Scotland’s leading wheelchair racer and Harper Macleod’s Athlete Ambassador. Sammi competed for Scotland at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games aged 18. Now, as she waits to find out if she has won a call up to the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, she shares her thoughts on being a fan and being a role model.

I have to admit that when I was younger I was never really a big fan of watching athletics on the television. However, things have changed now and I absolutely love it. I think it’s because I’m now a sportsperson and I understand just how hard the athletes have trained to get to where there are in their sport, whatever that is. I suppose I admire their commitment more than ever, so last month my rest period in the middle of each day was consumed by watching the World Championships in Beijing.

Because the Commonwealth Games was integrated I met a great deal of the Great Britain athletics team and I think that was a fantastic thing. It also means that I now enjoy watching them sort of as friends, which adds another attraction to it for me.

Obviously, among the athletes I love watching are the 100m sprinters. I admire how they get to top speed so quickly, which is something I practise a lot in my own sport. I also really enjoy watching Eilidh Child run. She passed the Queen’s Baton to me as it entered Scotland ahead of the Commonwealth Games starting, and she’s such as nice person and works really hard. Of course she’s also Scottish!

One thing that raised its head again during the World Championships, and particularly in the sprinting, was the use of illegal substances to gain an unfair advantage on other competitors. It’s something that can also be an issue in para sport and it’s a concern. Being an athlete, you always want to help to inspire the next generation and I do get worried about up and coming athletes finding out that their childhood heroes have been taking drugs when they were competing. They might think that’s what you need to do to get to the top, when that’s just not true.

Usain Bolt is a great role model and shows that you can be clean and be at the very top. It was great to see him win his gold medals in Beijing. Hopefully in the future this is something that the sport can keep tightening up on and examples of athletes cheating will become less common.

My racing season has been going great, I’ve set some new PBs and now I’m just waiting to hear if I’ll make the GB squad for the World Championships in Doha in October. It’s always nerve-wracking waiting for the phone call, but fingers crossed!